Can the international chain really compete with the local doughnut masters?

Valentine’s Day in Japan is as much a celebration of love and affection as it is a celebration of chocolate. That’s because it’s become a local tradition for women to gift chocolate to pretty much everyone in their lives on 14 February, with devoted men returning the favour to their beloved a month later, on White Day.

For us, chocolate is our love language at any time of the year, so we always make space in our bellies for the new limited-edition Valentine’s Day releases that appear at stores. This year, after loosening a notch on our belts to try the chocolate doughnuts from local chain Mister Donut, we found out that Krispy Kreme was coming out with its own range of chocolate doughnuts called “Love Chocolate“.

▼ But how would they compare to Mister Donut’s amazing range?

We decided to find out by purchasing all six of them, but when we visited, they were so popular that one had already sold out for the day.

▼ So we got the five we could, doubling up on the heart-shaped one to make up our half-dozen.

Starting with the Chocolate Tart (334 yen [US$2.60]) was a great way to begin the tasting, because it was light and fluffy on the inside yet incredibly crunchy on the outside.

This was an absolutely divine combination, especially with the rich chocolate cream centre adding a decadent hit of chocolate to every mouthful.

▼ We’d go so far as to call this a must-buy, and for us the crunch makes it even better than the doughnuts at Mister Donut right now.

Next up, we have the Strawberry & Chocolate (313 yen), which was so glossy it was impossible to photograph without the glare of the overhead lights getting in the way. This one was airy and light in texture, but rich and moreish in flavour — absolutely delicious!

▼ Now it was time to slice into the Chocolate Fondant Heart (334 yen).

This one ticked a lot of our boxes, with the thickness of the icing and the gooey chocolate centre being two of the highlights. It was light, chocolatey and delicious, and the fact that it comes with two marshmallows so you can share it with your lover without arguing over who gets the marshmallow was a very nice touch.

The Ganache Chocolate Ring (313 yen) was another high-quality offering, replicating the popular cocoa-dusted ganache chocolates that are particularly popular as Valentines’ Day gifts.

▼ This soft doughnut was our Valentine’s Day gift to ourselves.

Our final doughnut of the day was the Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake (270 yen), which really tasted like a chocolate cake! It was a great doughnut to finish on, and took our minds away from our missing heart-shaped, custard-filled Choco & Choco Custard Heart (270 yen).

So how did Krispy Kreme stack up against local favourite Mister Donut? Well, it’s a close call, but seeing as the Krispy Kreme doughnuts are more expensive than the ones over at Mister Donut, we have to give the win to…Mister Donut!

However, there is one exception, as the crunchy Chocolate Tart doughnut blows the Mister Donut range out of the water, as far as we’re concerned, so we highly recommend giving that one a try next time you’re you’re passing by a Krispy Kreme store.

The doughnuts will be on the menu from 18 January until early March, so there’s plenty of time to try them, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for their gorgeous new tit doughnuts which are also on the menu for a limited time!

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